The OCI Scheme provides for registration as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) of all Persons of Indian Origin who were citizens of India on 26th January, 1950 or thereafter or were eligible to become citizens of India on 26th January, 1950, except who or whose parents/grandparents/great grandparents is or had been a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh or such other country as the Government of India may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify. Detailed information on the OCI Scheme is available on the website: www.mha.nic.in
2. OCI is not to be misconstrued as ‘dual citizenship’. OCI does not confer political rights. The registered Overseas Citizens of India shall not be entitled to the rights conferred on a citizen of India under article 16 of the Constitution with regard to equality of opportunity in matters of public employment.
3.OCI Registration Certificate/Document/Card:
As per Central Government Notice No. 26011/06/2015 – OCI dated 29 January 2015 issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of India, the OCI Registration certificate/OCI Card will be a booklet containing the personal particulars of the holders with an endorsement "Visa validity - Lifelong".
It may be noted that the earlier feature which included the requirement of a 'U' visa sticker on the foreign passport of an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholder which was affixed through the match-up procedure has been dispensed with w.e.f. 29 January 2015. Following the change in rules, registered OCI cardholders would carry their valid foreign passport and the OCI Registration Certificate for entry/exit from India. Immigration authorities in the Immigration Checkposts (ICPs) have been requested not to insist on production of the foreign passport containing the 'U' visa sticker in the case of OCI cardholders while they enter/exit India and the immigration clearance may be granted based on production of the OCI card and a valid passport. All existing OCI cardholders and new applicants for an OCI card are requested to take note of the aforementioned changes.
4. Important notice for existing PIO card holders:
In view of the Gazette Notification No. 26011/01/2014 – IC.I dated 9th January, 2015 issued by the Central Government wherein it was specified that the PIO Scheme was withdrawn and all existing Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) card holders registered as such shall be deemed to be Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) card holders, existing holders of PIO cards are advised to act as per following instructions before 31 March 2016:
OCI card holders can visit India for business, employment, tourism and education without visa. However, those OCI card holders desirous of visiting India for the purpose of conducting research must obtain separately a No Objection/Research Project Clearance Certificate. This includes Scholars awarded Scholarship under Fulbright or any other scheme. Click here for details.
6. How to apply for an OCI Card:
Applicants residing within the jurisdiction of this Consulate (Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas) and seeking to apply for an OCI card are advised to complete the application form in the link http://passport.gov.in/oci/ and submit it along with supporting documents at the M/s CKGS Houston service centre. The Embassy of India, Washington DC has outsourced the handling of OCI card applications to M/s Cox & Kings Global Services Pvt. Limited (CKGS) from 21st May 2014.
CKGS Houston Centre Address:
Suite 550, Binz Building,
1001 Texas Avenue,
Houston, TX 77002
The Consulate General of India, Houston, does not directly accept applications from applicants, either in person at the consular counter or through mail for OCI card
7. Processing time for an OCI Application:
Normal processing time for an OCI Registration as well as OCI Miscellaneous Services is 45-50 days from the date of acknowledgement of the application by the Consulate.However, the normal processing time for an OCI application by the spouse of foreign origin of a citizen of India or spouse of foreign origin of an OCI cardholder is at least 75-80 days from the date of acknowledgement of the application by the Consulate. CKGS accepts OCI applications, complete in all respects, from eligible applicants. All applications received by CKGS will be submitted to the Consulate and thereafter acknowledged (applicants can track the status on the website) by the Consulate within 1-2 working days. Applicants may track the status of their OCI application at http://passport.gov.in/oci/statusEnqury. If the OCI Registartion Certificate is shown as received at CGI Houston as per the online status, applicants may send their passports directly to CKGS Houston without waiting for an email informing the applicant of the same. For detailed guidelines on submitting the application, required documentation, fee etc., you may visit the following link: http://www.in.ckgs.us.
8. Re-issue of an OCI Cardunder OCI miscellaneous services:
If the initial issue of OCI Registration Certificate has taken place after an applicant is 50 years of age or older, then it is not necessary for seeking reissue of an OCI Registration Certificate.
For an applicant who is between 21 - 49 years of age, there is no need to reissue OCI Registration Certificate (OCI Card) each time a new passport is issued.
However, please note that OCI registration certificates are to be reissued each time a new passport is issued to the applicant till he/she attains the age of 20 years and also once after completion of 50 years of age of the OCI cardholder.
OCI cardholders who have lost their passports containing the 'U' Visa are not required to apply for a re-issue of OCI card under 'lost/stolen' category as the requirement of a ‘U’ visa sticker on a foreign passport of an OCI Registration Certificate holder has been dispensed with w.e.f. 29 January 2015.
9.Benefits of an OCI Card:
A registered Overseas Citizen of India is granted multiple entry, multi-purpose, life-long visa for visiting India, he/she is exempted from registration with Foreign Regional Registration Officer or Foreign Registration Officer for any length of stay in India, and is entitled to general ‘parity with Non-Resident Indians in respect of all facilities available to them in economic, financial and educational fields except in matters relating to the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties’. Specific benefits/parity are notified by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs from time to time.
(i) Parity with Non-Resident Indians in the matter of inter-country adoption of Indian children;
(ii) Parity with resident Indian nationals in matters of tariffs in domestic air fares;
(iii) Parity with domestic Indian visitors in respect of entry fee for visiting national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India;
(iv) Parity with non-resident Indians in respect of:
Entry fees for visiting the national monuments, historical sites and museums in India;
Practicing the following professions in India, in pursuance of the provisions contained in the relevant Acts, namely;
Doctors, dentists, nurses and pharmacists;
Chartered Accountants; and
(v) Entitlement to appear for the All India Pre-Medical Test or such other tests to make them eligible for admission in pursuance of the provisions contained in the relevant Acts.
10. Important Instructions regarding application process:
Renunciation of Indian Citizenship: If any person, seeking to apply for OCI registration or OCI Miscellaneous service, had ever been an Indian citizen or held an Indian Passport, he/she must also simultaneously apply for/or submit a copy either of the following :-
Surrender of Indian citizenship certificate, OR
Deemed Surrender of Indian citizenship certificate, OR
Declaration of Renunciation of Indian citizenship.